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Showing posts from May, 2013

What do you absolutely know you want and how are you showing the world you want it?

I struggle with this question almost daily.  Because of the work I do, I know that what I really want is defined as much by what I actually do with my days as it is by how I answer questions about what I want.  Today I wanted to write. I also really wanted to spend time with my kid.  I know that because I made him breakfast, did some errands, drove him home to Hamilton and then took him out for lunch. Now I'm working on work: but I'm okay with that because I know that I do really want to get my next book written and that goal fits into a bigger picture when I am grateful for time with my kids whenever it becomes available.

In my business, I feel that I should have clearer goals and plans. The truth is: my goals are clear in the way I work. I want every person I train to think better and to become curious about how much better they could be in their thinking and their results. This shows up often in my interactions with clients: and sometimes I  remember to serve this purpose i…

What are you managing when you manage time?

We all know what time management means, at least until we start to think about it. The phrase implies that time is a kind of resource that can be used more or less effectively to create a particular result. But when we try to pin down the qualities of time as a resource, the definitions get trickier.

For one thing, $5 is always the same amount of money, but 5 minutes does not always seem to be the same amount of time. Five minutes in an emergency room is not the same as 5 minutes curled up on the couch watching a sitcom is not the same as the final five minutes in a championship game. How are we supposed to know how much or little we can do in five minutes when the size of the container keeps changing? The calculations only get more complicated as the units get bigger.

Can we at least understand the neurological processes that determine how long a unit of time seems to last (and so how much we can reasonably expect to do in that time)? The answer to date seems to be: not so much. The …

Vacations, planned and not planned

I have just returned from a long-awaited week on the beach in Varadero, Cuba.  It's our third trip to Cuba in as many years, and we've been planning to be there since last May. I knew I would need to disconnect for a week, to relax into the rhythms of resort life, and to gather energy for some big projects on the go in June.  I was more than ready for that vacation.

Ten days before I left, I took a different kind of vacation. My back went into spasms and I spent the better part of five days doing nothing more than managing my back. It's true that the problem was relatively well-timed and I had five days when the world could manage just fine without my thinking or writing much. I am grateful, because there are much worse ways to come to an abrupt halt. And it happens to everyone now and then. Without a plan (or reservations) we have to step out of our busy lives.

There is something to be gained, whether or not your break is intentional. Your perspective can be different and…

What happened to the Leafs?

There will be endless water cooler discussions (or maybe other beverages will be involved) as the true blue fans and the skeptics talk about Game 7 between Boston and the Leafs.  In case you're not in Toronto as you read this (and your world does not revolve around the fate of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team), let me give you a quick recap of their first round playoff series against the Boston Bruins. Toronto lost 2 games on home ice and was down 3-1 in the best of 7 series. They fought back (unexpectedly) to a 3-3 tie, forcing a 7th game in Boston.

Back on Boston ice, the Leafs were up 2-1 after two periods, and 4-1 about 9 minutes into the second period. (A period is 20 minutes).  They then allowed 3 unanswered goals, went to overtime, and lost early in the sudden-death overtime.  No more playoff dreams for Toronto, and some folks ready to call it a choke.

I don't think it's entirely fair to say they choked. What I saw (and I only saw a little of the previous games) …

Training in time management

Time management is one of the most requested courses in leadership training. It's something that people wish other people would do better (so they could meet their commitments) and something individuals want to do better (so that they could feel more competent and more confident). That's why there are lots of different courses and models of time management.  But it's harder to find approaches that are evidence-based. 
The general loop goes something like this: I want to have better time management so I can be more effective and feel more confident and my boss wants me to have better time management so I meet deadlines and keep my people on the right track. I sign up for training in time management and I am given information about tasks to do that will condition me to manage time better. I might even be given new tools that are designed to help me meet my most important priorities first.  As a result of new information and new tools, I develop more confidence. And because I…

Pain management and meaning

If you are not in pain, don't read this. Don't imagine pain: it will get under your skin and it might grow in unexpected ways.  This post is for people who are coping with pain, people who don't have to imagine how pain concentrates your perceptions while making it hard to focus your thoughts. This is for people who know how words fail when some part of your body is suffering and someone asks you to describe the pain.

If this is for you, then imagine that you can see someone who looks and sounds like you, someone who is experiencing that same pain that you are experiencing. You might notice the tension across that person's forehead, the clenching of the jaw, the breath that is not quite rhythmic. You might be aware that the body twists or tilts at an awkward angle, that something is unbalanced. You might notice, as though it were happening to someone else, someone far off in the distance, that all parts of that person are involved in the experience of pain.

But that pe…